The Hong Kong government has announced that maternity leave will increase by 4 weeks, this will come into effect on the 11 December 2020. This is one of the key changes being made under the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, enabling eligible female employees to have an increase in statutory paid maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Meaning that eligible female employees whose actual confinement occurs on or after the 11 December 2020, will be entitled to this extended maternity leave.
Who is eligible?
Female employees employed under a continuous employment contract for no less than 40 weeks and who satisfy the requisite notification requirements will be eligible.
How will it be calculated and who will pay for it?
The calculation of maternity leave pay will remain unchanged but (1) a cap of HK$80,000 per employee will be imposed for the additional 4 weeks’ leave and (2) employers may seek reimbursement from the government for these additional 4 weeks. Details of this reimbursement scheme are yet to be announced.
Currently, a male employee is entitled to 5 days of paternity leave. This will remain unchanged under the Bill, but the period in which he can take paternity leave will also be extended. Male employees are entitled to take paternity leave starting from 4 weeks before the expected date of delivery, until 10 weeks after the actual date of delivery. This time period will be extended from 10 weeks to 14 weeks, to align with the extended statutory maternity leave.
Employers should update their internal policies and procedures to reflect these changes.